As we move further into Ephesians we find ourselves entering into a prolonged description of the existence, identity and life of the church. One the most powerful implications that will flow out of this section is that Christian community is meant to go beyond shallow relationships and courteous exchanges of "how are you?" The reality of what the church is leads us to truly know each other, walk through life together and help each other along as we pursue Christ together. This is messy, it is hard, it is relationally intensive; but it is part of God's design in displaying His glory in the church. One of the contexts that we anticipate this happening in significant ways is in Community Groups (which will start in September). I am tremendously encouraged that God, in His providence, has us walking through this section of Ephesians as we prepare to jump into Community Groups together.
The following quotes from Jonathan Dodson are a helpful summary of how community flows out of our common connection with and passion for Christ.
There have been a lot of attempts to cultivate community in the local church–small groups, accountability groups, cell groups, missional communities, gospel communities. The problem with a lot of these structures is that they make the wrong thing central. The glue is all wrong. Small groups make community the glue. Accountability groups make holiness the glue. Cell groups make evangelism the glue. Missional communities make mission the glue. All of these get stuck on the wrong things.
Gospel communities, however, gather around the gospel not community or mission... The gospel knits different people together around the same Savior.
Gospel community takes a lot of time, sweat, tears, repentance, failure, and love. A lot of gospel. It’s a command, for our good, for our collective gospel witness in the city, for God’s infinite glory.
(HT: Vitamin Z)